An alleged getaway driver in a fatal 2013 Flanders home invasion learned Tuesday that she’s still facing second-degree murder — even though that charge was dismissed in the case against the man accused of firing the fatal shot.
Danielle Hall, 39, of Calverton was the first suspect in the case to appear in court since a second-degree murder charge was dismissed against co-defendant Messiah Booker. Mr. Booker, 32, accepted a plea deal on a lesser charge of attempted robbery after a prosecutor was accused of withholding evidence at his trial, weakening the prosecution’s case.
Ms. Hall asked Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge John Collins Tuesday if the murder charge would be dropped in her case as well. The judge explained that she was still facing the second-degree murder and first-degree burglary charges she was indicted on.
It was the first time Ms. Hall appeared before Judge Collins and she did so with a new court-appointed defense attorney and a new prosecutor in the case. Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson, the head of the DA’s homicide bureau, took over the case from Glenn Kurtzrock, who resigned in the immediate aftermath of the Booker trial. Mr. Kurtzrock had been accused of withholding more than 125 pages of detectives notes from the defense.
On Tuesday, Ms. Albertson said she would be presenting Ms. Hall’s newly appointed attorney, Ira Weissman, with two compact discs containing the entire homicide file from the Booker case, including all of the material initially left out of evidence by Mr. Kurtzrock. She also invited Ms. Weissman to examine the boards created for that trial showing the location of the cars heading toward the crime scene based on cell phone records and private security camera footage.
Outside of the courtroom, Mr. Weissman said he believes Mr. Booker’s plea deal affects Ms. Hall’s case from a “fairness perspective,”considering she’s only accused of driving people to the scene of the crime.
In total, five individuals were charged in relation to the Jan. 27, 2013 incident that led to the death of Demitri Hampton. Four of the suspects — Ms. Hall, Mr. Booker, Corry Wallace and Michael Parrish — were indicted on the murder and robbery charges.
Mr. Wallace — a brother to Ms. Hall and Mr. Booker and stepfather of Mr. Parrish — accepted a plea deal to have his murder charge reduced to manslaughter in exchange for testimony he gave at his brother’s trial. He’s due back in court next Monday before Suffolk County Criminal Court Judge Timothy Mazzei.
Mr. Parrish is scheduled to appear before Judge Collins on June 2.
The driver of a second getaway car, Onika Walker, previously signed a cooperation agreement with police that saw her charged with only misdemeanor hindering prosecution. She also testified at Mr. Booker’s trial.
On Tuesday, Ms. Albertson requested a protective order barring Mr. Weissman from identifying to his client any of the witnesses who testified at the Booker trial.
“There’s always a chance of retribution,” she said.
Ms. Hall is due back in court next month.